Sunday marks the beginning of the new liturgical year and the first week of Advent. During these four weeks leading up to Christmas, the consumer market tries to persuade us to shop frantically, but the Church invites us to remember the real joy of the season and to renew our hearts, minds, and souls.   At Mass on this first Sunday of Advent, you will hear exactly how to prepare for the coming of the Lord. In the Second reading, St. Paul gives us some directions:

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

The message is in our school theme, “Live in harmony with one another.”

At school, the students will have many opportunities to strengthen their hearts. They will do service projects, reaching out to those who are less fortunate. They will pray more. On Monday, December 3, and each successive Monday in December, we will gather in the church right at 8:15am for a brief prayer service and to light the Advent candles. If you arrive after the students are picked up by their teachers, remember that we will be in the church until about 8:30am. Next week also, students in grades two through eight will receive the Sacrament of Penance as they prepare their hearts and souls. On Friday, December 7, at 9am Mass, we will celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception when we remember Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary was conceived with God’s special grace so that one day she would bear Jesus, our Lord and Savior. At that Mass, students will hear the story of how Mary said yes to Jesus. As we look forward to His birth, let us look to Mary as a sign of courage and faith.

As you prepare for Advent in your home, don’t forget that you can make your own Advent wreath after the 10:30am mass on Sunday.  Make this Advent a special one.

The first trimester ends on December 7.  Report cards will be sent home the following week.  Middle school students will have end-of-term assessments in some subjects next week and may ask you to help them study over the weekend.  It’s a great opportunity to refresh your knowledge of Greek and Latin roots, slopes and equations, the characteristics of life, viruses and bacteria, the nature of matter, and/or force, motion and Newton’s Laws.

Wishing you a blessed Advent,

Bernadette O’Leary